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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Vegan Jambalaya

Two things I enjoyed last night were listening to a CD by Minnie Driver, “Everything I’ve Got in my pocket” and Jambalaya.. I never knew Minnie Driver could sing until I saw her sing the CD’s title song on either a morning show or a talk show. I like her music and enjoyed the CD after my first taste of Jambalaya, thanks to Nava Atlas. (The website link is below) I was not familiar with jambalaya and when I was out to eat it was mentioned during conversation. When I went home I researched it and found this recipe from Nava.. It was delicious! Every time I try someone’s recipe or make a recipe myself I want to tell all see, vegans eat well. There are plenty of choices out there which decrease missing the food you ate before. I wanted to see exactly what jambalaya was so I researched it. Below you will find the information and the source. Maybe there is someone else besides me who is not familiar with jambalaya. My first thought when it was mentioned to me was is it similar to a Paella? In the excerpt below it is compared to the latter. The recipe from Nava Atlas follows.

There's something about serving jambalaya at a party that almost guarantees the good times will roll. As it's difficult to decide just what kind of jambalaya to make (meat, shellfish, or poultry), we normally put a little bit of everything into the pot!
Jambalaya a Cajun/Creole dish, is perhaps the most versatile main dish the South has to offer. It originated with the Spanish when they came to Louisiana in the 1700s. It is a direct descendant of their paella, but in the new world it became known as a Creole dish -- and a delicious one indeed. For a dinner party what could be better than Jambalaya, a crisp green salad with vinaigrette dressing, French bread, and praline ice cream. You will think you are dining in the French Quarter.
No one knows for sure where the name came from, but as with many dish names, there are a few good guesses along with a bit of folklore. Most believe the name came from the Spanish word for ham, jamón, a prime ingredient in the first jambalayas of the eighteenth century. John Mariani in The Dictionary of American Food and Drink offers a more colorful origin of the name: A gentleman stopped by a New Orleans inn late one night to find nothing left for him to dine upon. The owner thereupon told the cook, whose name was Jean, to "mix some things together" --balayez, in the dialect of Louisiana -- so the grateful guest pronounced the dish of odds-and-ends wonderful and named it "Jean Balayez." The first reference to the word in print was in 1872, and The Picayune's Creole Cook Book (1900) calls it a "Spanish-Creole dish.
Rice is an essential ingredient in Jambalaya, and has been an important crop in the South for several hundred years. Rice production in the South began in North Carolina in the late 1600s, with great success. By the late 1800s, after a series of problems from labor to weather, the Southern Atlantic states production foundered. Louisiana began producing rice in late 1889, and is today one of the major producing states, along with Arkansas, California, and Texas.
There are countless variations on this dish some say at least one for every household in Louisiana! Jambalaya may be made with beef, pork, chicken, duck, shrimp, oysters, crayfish, sausage, or any combination. Some of the more standard additions are green pepper, cayenne pepper, tomatoes, celery, and onions. Generally, the vegetables are sautéed and meat(s) cooked, then broth or water, tomatoes, seasonings, and uncooked rice are added. The mixture is simmered until the rice is done, and shrimp (or any other foods which should not be overcooked) are added near or at the end of the cooking time.
Many of the recipes call for andouille. If you never heard of or tasted andouille .. simply put, it's the Cajun (actually andouille is of German and French origins) version of smoked sausage; its the spicy equivalent of Polish kielbasa. If you have a real good German or Polish butcher shop in your area try to get kielbasa; if you can't find anything other than supermarket "stuff", give KPAULS a call. I'll warn you .. andouille goes for about $12-$15 per pound! “

Serves 6 to 8

Spicy bits of soy sausage lend an authentic flair to this simple vegetarian take on a Creole-Cajun classic. Serve with coleslaw and fresh cornbread for a hearty, satisfying meal.
3 cups water
1 1/4 cups brown rice
2 tablespoons light olive oil
8 links soy sausage
1 large onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 medium green or red bell pepper, diced
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon each:
dried oregano
dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Bring the water to a simmer in a saucepan. Stir in the rice; cover and simmer gently until the water is absorbed, about 35 minutes.
Heat just enough of the oil to lightly coat the bottom of a large, non-stick skillet. When hot, arrange the soy “sausage” links in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, gently turning them until all sides are golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside until needed.
Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, celery, and bell pepper, and continue to saute until all the vegetables are lightly browned.
Add the remaining ingredients except the salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cut the soy sausage links into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Add to the skillet and simmer briefly.
Combine the skillet mixture with the hot cooked rice in a large serving bowl and toss together thoroughly. Season to taste with salt (and a bit more cayenne if you’d like) and serve at once.

From time to time I like to give an example of a day in my life as a vegan on what I eat. Some days I eat a better variety of what Is recommended from the vegetarian food pyramid. So, please note, when I post what I ate it is in no way a representation of the proper daily intake one should be eating. I thought this may be helpful to give ideas on different things to eat for someone newly starting veganism. So, on that note, here is what I ate today:

Cereal with soy milk
Coffee with soy milk and agave

early noon snack
Veggie chips (I decided to have a treat today)

lettuce and tomato salad with soy- based creamy Italian dressing

1 banana
1 apple

Veggie Hamburger on wheat toast
artichoke hearts with garlic and capers (I will post this recipe also- I found it online)

I hope you enjoy this recipe.. Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope to see you again soon.

Happy vegan cooking



Veggies.... said...

This recipe sounds really good! I'll keep it in mind and try it soon. Thanks for sharing.

Gnewvegan said...

Hi Veggies,

It is indeed a recipe I know I will be making again and again... I enjoy sharing recipes I enjoyed and ones I think my readers may also enjoy..

thanks for coming to my blog and I hope to see you again soon.


Alison said...

Hi G.
The Jambalaya recipe looks great. I'll have to give it a whirl at some point.
I think the difference between paella and jambalaya is the seasonings used. Paella uses saffron. I'm sure it also involves whatever is locally produced too and different types of rice. I could be wrong, this is just off the top of my head.

Gnewvegan said...

Hi Ali,

I do think you are right that the two have different seasonings. I have made paella before and sofrito is used (a mixture of herbs & onions/peppers/tomatoes). You can buy it or make it...